European Union and United Kingdom at loggerheads over Brexit deal as deadline looms

Brexit-backing Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "The Prime Minister will be negotiating hard for Britain in the days ahead and her resolution is admirable".

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said there was no chance the European Union would compromise on its demands and rejected speculation the other countries would be tempted to fudge the Irish issue until later; but he also said he thought there would be a deal.

"It may be that they will just accept what we have proposed after the Tory conference".

Mr Tusk said of the so-called Chequers proposals: "the suggested framework for economic cooperation will not work, not least because it risks undermining the single market".

Speaking after a meeting with European Council president Donald Tusk, the PM said: "We both agree there can be no withdrawal agreement without a legally-operative backstop. A good relationship at the end of this process depends on it", she added. But she added: "We are preparing for no deal".

Mrs May said her "Chequers" proposals for trade with the European Union, intended also to resolve arguments on the border of Northern Ireland, were the only way forward.

'I think we have made more preparations for a no deal than the United Kingdom has, ' said Dutch PM Mark Rutte.

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European Union leaders were supposed to sign-off this week on an additional November summit to give more time for the chance of a Brexit deal.

May responded to Musk's criticisms by saying that her proposals were "the only serious, credible" way to avoid a hard border with Northern Ireland. Neither side wants an arrangement that would require the rebuilding of border infrastructure, the removal of which was a key part of the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland after years of sectarian strife.

Macron bluntly said May's Brexit proposals, known as Chequers after the country house where they were agreed by the British cabinet in July, were "unacceptable".

The firm line from Downing Street, and one repeated by May at dinner last night, has been that the Chequers plan and the UK's own proposal for an Irish backstop already represent big compromises, and that it is now time for Brussels to shift position.

However, at her own news conference, she appeared shaken by a barrage of questions about the EU's explicit rejection of the main pillars of her Chequers plan.

Tusk, meanwhile, said that the upcoming October summit would be the "moment of truth" for reaching a deal, and that "if the conditions are there" another summit would be held in November to "formalize" it.

"If the choice we face is between no deal and no detail, then an extension to the Article 50 negotiation period must be on the table as the only way to avoid an economic cliff edge, and allow all alternative options to be considered".

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